Chaos reigns in GMF

Pitrone goes off, Worthey pounds gavel

Rob Carrigan
Green Mountain Falls
Pat Hill

A chaotic end to Mayor Lorrie Worthey's two-year term, the board meeting of March 18 descended into chaos. As trustee Mac Pitrone blew his stack when Susan Barnes read a grievance letter during time reserved for the Mayor's report, Worthey pounded the gavel in staccato rhythm.

As the drama ensued, El Paso County deputies remained in the back of the room while town attorney Matt Krob displayed no facial expression at all.

Reading from a five-page letter, Barnes talked about the evening of Nov. 2 when she was assaulted while on duty. In the attack Barnes suffered a broken collarbone, lacerated kidney, cervical sprain, concussion, rib contusions and multiple cuts and bruising. The crime has never been solved.

As Pitrone raised a fit over the breach of protocol, Barnes continued reading, airing her grievances against Howard Price, who was the marshal's trustee at the time, as well as Pitrone and Rob McArthur, public works director.

In the background McArthur repeated several times that the issue of Barnes' grievances were personnel issue and should be heard in executive session. Eventually, trustee Margaret Peterson made the motion to do just that to seek advice from Krob. Worthey and trustee Tyler Stevens voted against the session while trustees Ralph LoCascio, Pitrone, Jane Newberry and Peterson carried the vote.

At this, Barnes stopped reading her letter and handed a copy to Courier reporter Pat Hill.

The second page of the letter refers to a meeting between Price and Barnes, with Hill as the “independent 3rd party.” In the letter, Barnes said she was told Hill was not there in the capacity of a reporter.

However, as Barnes allowed the reporter to take her photo for the newspaper article about that meeting, in addition to seeing that the digital recorder was on and notes taken the entire time.

At the end of the letter, Barnes wrote that she is resigning her position. “I have placed the safety, health and happiness of the town and its residents as my top priority. However, the recent turmoil and constant volatile government situation has made the environment of my employment with this agency unstable, unhealthy, unsafe and uncomfortable,” she writes.

In the age of social media, grievances expressed by Barnes, as well as those of former Marshal Tim Bradley have all been exposed on Facebook.

The meeting of March 18 can be seen on YouTube.